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2017 in Review

2017 has come to an end and I’m looking back at what was an incredible year full of brünch adventures ❤

As you might know, I recently moved back to Berlin after 14 years away, eight years in London, almost three years of brünch and a whole new chapter ahead of me 🙂 After I left London in October, I took some time out to rest and let it all sink in, reflect and create new headspace for fresh ideas. Join me on my journey through 2017 and please do get in touch if you have any questions at all or simply want to reach out. I always love to hear from you.

Let’s start at the beginning. 

I launched brünch in February 2015 as a roaming Berlin brunch pop up after quitting my corporate job as independent hotel consultant to start a new chapter .

I launched brünch as my way to express myself. Live my ideas and passions and create the life I want to lead. Make it count! I had no big plans at first, I lived the moment and did what made me happy. I didn’t want to wake up one day not having tried.

And so my journey begun. 

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Since launching almost three years ago I hosted around 25 beautiful brünch events all across London. I toured some fantastic UK festivals with my Berlin brünch Bar, collaborated with many inspiring people and beautiful brands and had brünch delivered to your doorstep.

In 2017 my brünch adventures continued full steam ahead! With your amazing support, brünch celebrated the opening of it’s own place in the heart of East London.

From pop up to permanent.

It was summer 2016 and I was still feeling the buzz of what was an amazing first ever festival season with brünch. On the look out for some new pop up locations in London I stumbled across The Taproom at London Fields Brewery.

At the time The Taproom was only open in the evenings and had seen better days. I  met with Hugo Ramos, Managing Director of the brewery and we got on straight away. I loved his vision and he loved my ideas. Our conversation quickly lead into something a lot bigger than just a pop up.

I got a full tour of the space including the two arches and life music venue. We talked for hours. At the end of our chat Hugo took me by surprise! He asked if I could imagine doing something more permanent with brünch at The Taproom.

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I walked away, called my closest friends, sat on a bench in the park and thought it over, again and again. I could hardly sleep that night.

I was super excited about the idea of opening up my own cafe. But I was really scared too. This was a different ball game. It meant commitment and responsibility. It meant putting my life on hold. Was brünch ready for this? Was I ready for this? Would brünch be successful going from pop up to permanent? Would I be able to pull it off?

There was only one way to find out…

Way too often we say No. No to the unknown. No because we are scared to fail. No because we are afraid of change. No because that is just easier!!!

But I had nothing to lose and I was way too excited with too many ideas in my head to let that opportunity go. I followed my heart and said YES!

Our vision was to bring The Taproom back to life, back into the local community – a new website, new logo, interior facelift, cafe during the day, cocktails and new dinner menu at night, all under my control. My dream project!

Next thing I know, my girlfriends and I are scrubbing floors, fridges, walls and tables at The Taproom. We converted the space into brünch’s new home, painted, built and decorated. Hugo gave me free reign and supported where he could. I was in my element. I launched a Kickstarter Campaign to raise the needed funds to get my new venture off the ground. Within 20 days, 62 backers supporting my vision and plans I was able to raise £10,169. Grateful for so much love and support from friends and brünch fans we went all out to make it happen.

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After only a few weeks, the new Taproom website went live with a new Taproom logo seeing brünch part of it. Hugo and I writing the content and my housemate Toby, creative mastermind behind El Tobe designing the website and logo. Adam, who has been supporting and believing in me from the start helped me visualise my ideas and drew up the initial design plans for brünch at The Taproom. Thank you Adam! ❤

 

 

 

 

Making something out of little was the motto. A philosophy that guided me from when I first started (pretty much because I did not have much choice..). I needed to spend every penny wisely. I wanted to bring the best out of what the space had to offer while giving it my brünch look and feel. Friends helped, most things were built in house, local businesses gave little discounts to support us.

And we did it! Within seven weeks, we turned around the existing operation and brünch at The Taproom opened on the 17th of November 2016. 

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I am not going to lie, there were times when I just wanted to run away.  Endless hours of cleaning, baking and cooking into the night, dealing with suppliers, recruiting, training, marketing, social media, admin,…I neglected friends and family for weeks and feeling the pressures of being responsible for other people’s livelihoods was super scary.

My body and brain were tired. But it was an incredible feeling to see it all coming together.

 

 

 

 

Once up and running, I cycled to work every morning and opened the café with one of my team. The best moment of my day was picking up the still warm bread from Pavilion bakery around the corner, opening the shutters, letting the sunlight in and switching the open sign on. The café was ready when all the cakes and hot croissants were out. It smelled beautiful. The coffee was dialled in and we had our first cuppa of the day before the first guests arrived. I was happy!

We opened from Tuesday until Sunday, six days a week between 8am and 4pm. My team consisted of one barista, one chef, one person front of house and another barista and chef during the busy weekend periods. It was beautiful to see customers coming back, telling us how much they enjoy being here and they bring friends, work colleagues and their families to share the Berlin brünch experience. During the week brünch saw friends meet friends for a catch up, work colleagues brainstorm ideas, locals read the paper by the window, travellers take foodie pictures, neighbours get their coffee or just drop in for a chat. During the weekend, brünch quickly became a destination in its own right and our brünch family was growing day by day. It felt like home.

Magda_0928I took all my favourite Berlin drink brands with me too. It was fantastic to break the news to them that I had found a permanent home and I wanted them to be part of it. And so my fridges were full with Club Mate, fritz kola, Michelberger Coconut Water and ChariTea. Our Cocktail Bar was stocked with German booze like Belsazar Vermouth, Berliner Brandstifter Gin and Our Vodka Berlin. I sold little sweets from back in the day that only those would recognise that grew up or had lived in Berlin back in the day.

All finished off with a generous portion of tunes from my favourite German DJs in the background and on special occasions we had live DJs spinning the decks.

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In the meantime another little project was coming my way.

When Soho meets Berlin for brünch. 

Back in January 2017 Jägermeister, who I had been working with on various events over the past two years, approached me and asked if I wanted to be the first pop up to launch at their new JagerSoho location in collaboration with SohoRadio.

Guess what. I said yes! 😉 And so, in March 2017, I opened my doors ‘When Soho meets Berlin for brünch’.

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I split my time between the two venues and it felt great to get on my bike, cycle through town and leave The Taproom for a bit. Even Claudia Schiffer walked in for a coffee one day! 😀

I felt re-energised.

I served all my Berlin favourites including beautiful coffee from Berlin roasters Fjord, our signature Stulle creations and of course our beautiful beetroot and black sesame lattes made with Oatly Oatmilk.

 

 

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The pop up was only for three months and I remember how much I enjoyed it! Taking over spaces, converting them and creating the brünch experience.

Time for new adventures!

Brünch at The Taproom and my German-inspired evening menu were taking off. But there were a number of things that did not feel right anymore. I realised that The Taproom was not the right place for me and brünch. After long consideration, I decided to leave The Taproom in July 2017.

During that time my desire to re-connect with my home city became stronger and stronger. I have always had in the back of my head that one day I will find myself back in Berlin. I had a beautiful flat coming up in Berlin and after I left The Taproom it seemed the perfect time to give it a go.

Berlin’s food and bar scene is an exciting place to be right now. It is becoming more and more vibrant with the influx of internationals moving into the city. Fresh ideas, new concepts, different opinions. Dreamers, artists, suits, entrepreneurs, visionaries, chefs from all over the world shape the ‘new’ Berlin. Berlin is still young. Still finding out what it wants to be. It has so much to learn still. Times of change. I want to be part of that change. I want to contribute with what I have learnt in all these years abroad and make my mark in the Berlin food scene and beyond.

 

 

 

 

But before going back home, I took a little detour. 

After closing brünch at The Taproom I was pretty exhausted. I needed a break from it all and so I went to Bali for three weeks. Time to take a deep breath, let it all sink in, let my hair down and and just be!

 

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Bali was incredible and gave me the headspace I needed to think about my next steps. A beautiful island, with kind people and amazing food. I got so inspired by the way the cafes were designed, the food looked and tasted. I ate myself through the whole island, exploring the world of Acai Bowls and Buddha Bowls. The food is colourful and vibrant, healthy and nourishing. There was so much love and attention to detail in the food we ate. The way it is made and presented let my heart jump.

 

 

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The plan was to come back and enjoy a few more weeks in London before heading to Berlin. But as we know, plans never go according to plan.

Instead, I got the amazing opportunity to head up a big operation in Morocco and Ibiza for five weeks. One of those one-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I knew I could not turn down. I was flown out within two days and ended up missing my own farewell party. I packed my life into a few boxes within a day and just went for it.

I was given the trust to lead a big team and make things happen. I was completely out of my comfort zone but I was taking each day at a time and it was amazing. Sometimes you meet people in your life that bring the best out of you. They bring the best out of you because they believe in you and your capabilities, give you a chance to prove yourself. They trust you when you don’t trust yourself.

Way too often we are filled with self doubt. The fear of failure which holds us back to excel and flourish. I told myself to say yes more. Yes to the unknown. Yes to new adventures. Yes to making mistakes. I am still learning to accept that I don’t always need to know all the answers to my questions from the start. And I usually have a lot of questions! I realised that the more answers I have the more I overthink things and the more I get in doubt and eventually say no because all I can think of are the things that can possibly go wrong.

I didn’t want to wake up one day not having tried. 

I don’t want to say ‘don’t think just do it’. No! I am saying don’t stop dreaming. Trust yourself a little bit more and make mistakes. Do something you love and that you believe in. That allows you to express yourself day in day out. Take time to think about what makes you happy, what you want your life to look like? Let that picture drive you.  Don’t do it for anyone else but yourself. Make it count.

Who knows where the journey will take you. There is only one way to find out…

 

 

When I got back from my project in September, my room in London had already been rented out to someone else and all my stuff was already in Berlin.

I was a free bird with some cash in my pockets. And it felt fantastic!

Left with one suitcase full of summer clothes I made most of my ‘homeless time’ and travelled to Zurich and Amsterdam to visit close friends before heading back to London for a last goodbye.

It will not be a goodbye forever though. 

Moving back to Berlin is a big step for me. Things have changed. I have changed. I am  excited to re-discover and explore my home city after all these years away and I am looking forward to what’s ahead. Lots of plans, lots of ideas which I am currently working on. Stay tuned 🙂

If you want to follow my adventures and stay up to date with what I am up to, I will share my favourite places to eat, drink and experience Berlin on my Instagram accounts @noemieats_ and keep you posted on everything brünch related @bruench_popup  .

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and reading until the end. I am wishing you a beautiful and merry Christmas and a great start into 2018! See you very soon 🙂

Lot’s of brünchlove

Noemi xx

www.bruench.com

 

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Christmas marzipan recipe

 

I love Christmas!

Well, I guess I like the romantic notion of Christmas – cold winter days, candlelit dinners, lovely food, roaring fires, spending time with family & friends  – but ever so often reality looks slightly different. With Christmas around the corner, stress levels build up to make it all so perfect. We run around town to find the perfect gift, we spend a whole lot of money that we don’t have and by the end of it we are so exhausted that if something doesn’t go according to plan we snap at each other and eventually melt into tears.

Last year, I made a conscious effort to relax a bit more and not try to tick every single Christmas box there is. And the same I intend to do this year.

Instead of expensive presents, I get creative and make things – photos collages and calendars are always beautiful presents and they are made to last. I invite friends for dinner and spend quality time with them. Last year I had eight friends over and I made home-made chicken liver pate on toasted brioche which went down a treat with a few glasses of bubbles at the beginning of the meal!

This year, I am doing more baking & cooking to surprise my loved ones. Food brings people together and can say more than thousand words.

I want to share one of my recipes with you which takes less than 30 mins to make and looks great under the Christmas tree.

German Marzipan Recipe

I made my own marzipan for the first time at one of my pop ups in 2015 and ever since I get asked for my recipe. Well, here it is 🙂

Marzipan is very popular in Germany all year round. During the Christmas time, it is common to give marzipan in the shape of a bread, which is called ‘Marzipanbrot’ or small potatoes ‘Marzipankartoffeln’. Another tradition is a Glücksschwein (‘lucky pig’) on New Years Eve.

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Historically, Marzipan is a specialty of the Hanseatic League port towns. In particular the city of Lübeck in the north of Germany, has a proud and long-standing tradition of marzipan manufacture and you will find the German Niederegger Marzipan in most shops these days.

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Marzipan is so delicious and quick to make at home. You can add it to cakes and cookies, make decoration for cakes or simply enjoy it on its own.  I love recipes that allow for modifications. You can add anything to the mix – nuts, chocolate, spices, colourings, you name it.

I made some Marzipankartoffel the other day with dark chocolate coating and inside it had a roasted almond. I wrapped them up nicely and gave them as a present. It was a winner

Here is how it goes 

Makes ten to 15 little marzipan balls

Ingredients

1 cup of ground almonds
1 cup of icing sugar
1 egg white
2 table spoons of pure almond extract
1 table spoon of rose water 

For the filling & coating

100gr of dark chocolate (80%)
Whole almonds

3 table spoons of icing sugar
1/2 table spoons of cinnamon

Preparation

  • Add the ground almonds, almond extract, rose water, icing sugar and egg white together in a bowl. Use your clean hands to kneed the dough until all the ingredients are well mixed together. No need to get the whisker out.

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  • Refrigerate the dough for 15 mins.
  • After 15 mins remove the marzipan from the fridge and form little balls or squares with your hands (any shape goes really). Place one whole almond in the middle when shaping the dough (optional)

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  • Prepare the chocolate. Break the dark chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof bowl.
  • Sit over a pan of barely simmering water (a bain marie) and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally. Ensure no hot water gets into the chocolate.
  • Cover the marzipan shapes with chocolate and allow to cool on a flat surface. You can also use cocoa powder for coating, which is less messy and equally delicious.
  • Mix the icing sugar an cinnamon and sieve over the cooled chocolate marzipans.

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Done! 

Eat straight away, wrap up nicely as a present or serve at the end of your meal with coffee & teas.

Enjoy your Christmas and don’t forget..

Christmas is not be about the size of the turkey, the quality of champagne or the amount of presents under the Christmas tree. It is the time to be with family and friends, cherish the moments we have together and appreciate the simple things in life that we often take for granted.

x

 

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